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Community Observation Network for Adaptation & Security

The Community Observation Network for Adaptation & Security (CONAS) recognizes the growing international interest in the region of the Bering Sea – as a changing ecosystem, as a potential source of untapped resources, and for the need to balance these in the context of the rich and diverse cultures that call it Home.

CONAS builds on the past Bering Sea Sub-Network (BSSN) project.

Through their intimate connection with the environment residents in Arctic indigenous communities can provide unique insights and observations of changing conditions that affect well-being. Unlike sparsely located mechanical sensors, network observers have been marking variability in weather patterns, sea ice, animal migrations and other environmental changes, for generations. CONAS is a partnership with communities across the Bering Sea to collect information for the purposes of adaptation, decision -making and the development of a Community Based Early Warning System.

CONAS consists of systematic observations made by subsistence hunters, fishermen and elders from eight communities around the Bering Sea. This information, which is owned and controlled by the communities, is then used to generate dynamic maps and data products that both residents and policy -makers can use to best inform decisions for a rapidly changing Arctic environment.

Data gathered through BSSN reveals linkages between biophysical change, social adaptation and resource security. This project is uniquely positioned to provide an unprecedented amount of data that allows new knowledge to be integrated into numerical models for enhanced understanding and predictive capability.

About CONAS: This project is a partnership between the Universities of Alaska and Idaho, the Aleut International Association (a permanent participant of the Arctic Council), and local community and regional governments in both the U.S. and Russia. It is funded by the National Science Foundation through the Office of Polar Programs and interfaces with other Arctic Observing Network (AON) efforts through data sharing and synthesis.

CONAS/BSSN FACTS:

  • More than 800 participants
  • Eight partner communities in Alaska and the Russian Far East: Gambell, Sand Point, Savoonga, St. George, and Togiak in Alaska and Kanchalan, Nikolskoye, and Tymlat in the Russian Far East.
  • Four years of data gathered to date
  • Development of a community-based early warning system for climate change

Contact: Jessica Veldstra

Phone: 907-332-5399

Fax: 907-332-5380

Email: jessv_aia@alaska.net

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